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Illustrated, Vol. 1 (Classic Reprint)

Illustrated, Vol. 1 (Classic Reprint)

1925 руб.
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Excerpt from Illustrated, Vol. 1

Australia has no part in the early history of the human race or in the development of its civilization; it contains no traces of ever having been the seat of empire - no ruins, no mounds, to indicate that it was the dwelling-place, in the far past, of industrious and fertile populations. Its great contributions to the worlds store, material and spiritual, will have to be the work of the future, and it already promises not to be backward in the fulfillment of that obligation. To the student of physical science, it is indeed a land full of interest, because, geologically, it is one of the oldest countries in the world, and has suffered so little from submersion that the earlier types of the earths fauna and flora - types found elsewhere only in the form of fossils - can still be studied in a living state. To the enthusiastic searcher after the footprints left in the march of past ages, Australia furnishes, in its animal and vegetable life, records which are only just beginning to be deciphered. To the student of ethnology, Australia offers little but the customs of a few degraded tribes - customs not materially differing from those found elsewhere. For the student of comparative grammar, there is a variety of undeveloped dialects principally worth studying in order to determine to what branch of the human family the Australian aborigines belong, and whence and when they migrated.

That in early days Australia was not better peopled, and that its inhabitants never rose above the elementary stage of acquiring a subsistence, and fashioning the rude tools necessary thereto, is largely due to the aridity of the climate on all but the eastern coast. Wherever man depends on the bounty of Nature, and has not learnt how to cultivate and garner, there can be no advance in civilization if that bounty is capricious. Australia is a land of uncertain rain-fall and of certain droughts, and its barbarous tribes, dependent on the spontaneous produce of Nature, could not increase. When the clouds are pitiless, the people perish unfed. The Australian aborigines were in this way kept down, and never reached the point when they were able by human contrivance to neutralize the precariousness of the earths spontaneous supply of food.

For this reason Australia, though populated for centuries, was a blank in history until it was discovered by Europeans; and, even when discovered, it was thought to be of no value. Ardent and intrepid navigators, suspecting its existence, searched for and found it, but the jewel when discovered was rejected as worthless.

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